Ride around (and through) the Vinh Phuoc hills
Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 61 of 126 › view all entries
It was always nice to stop and watch fishing boats glide under the Tran Phu Bridge - for both the sight itself and for the breather from pedaling non-stop out to mid-span. After catching my breath I decided to continue north. Pagodas and temples on the tiny, close-to-shore, island of Hon Do (Red Island) were decorated with colorful flags and banners. White boats shuttled visitors on the short crossing but I am waiting until I can get checked out on paddling - and renting - a round basket boat to make that crossing. I also passed the legend-filled rocks at the Hon Chong Promontory (see 'Sunday Ride' blog) to reach the Vinh Hai beach which stretches a couple of miles to the higher hills of Cape Ka Go.
A couple of small fishing boats were beached near swaying palm trees and green patches of ground.
Thick vegetation that was scattered with banana trees and coconut palms lined the base of the hills and hundreds of gravesites marked their rocky rugged slopes. I pedaled toward them around rice paddies and gardens of the occasional farmhouse. No one worked the fields.
I was close to the Cai River and knew the two options for crossing it. The rickety Vinh Ngoc bridge was about a mile down the road and would be easiest but I decided on the more challenging railroad bridge.
The first off-road path that I followed led to a grassy pond next to a rice paddy. A narrow underpass there crossed the railroad embankment to a hillside cemetery. The hundreds of gravesites were cleaned or freshly painted from the recent Tet holiday. As I took a few photos, the colorful calm was broken by the distant horn of a train.
From back on the road, I found a second turn-off. Approaching the rail line, another horn blasted - much closer. I made it half-way up the embankment when another passenger train thundered by at great speed. A minute sooner and I could have captured that northbound express coming out of the tunnel which was just a hundred yards to my right.
After seeing bicycles being walked through before, I ignored the sign that might have said 'Keep Out of Tunnel'. Loose rock discouraged pedaling. A dry and shallow trench followed the tracks on one side - if another train came I could set the bike into it and step in behind.
I crossed the Cai on the lesser-used catwalk and carried the bike across the tracks at the south end. New routes followed the river downstream and I found access at a middle-class waterside restaurant. Views were nice from that urban stretch of river: to nearby Ngoc Thao island and upstream to the railroad bridge. As I sipped a cold beer, with the ice, three tour boats came downstream and docked. A retired couple from Colorado told me that they were touring Nha Trang; part of their cruise ship stop-over between Hong Kong and Singapore. They only went upstream to the rickety Vinh Ngoc bridge but got to see some mighty fine stretches of the Cai River.